Just like Krampus, soaring through the flurries of snow in his blood red, spiked and studded heavy metal sleigh pulled by slavering, metal demons (In Flames, HELLYEAH and Sylosis), headliners Lamb of God are coming to Seattle to dole out coal and eat all the bad children. This extremely, confused holiday event goes down December 16th at the Showbox SODO, doors at 6pm.
Lamb of God, originally known as Burn The Priest, formed in the dorms of Virginia Commonwealth University in 1990. Over the next decade they toiled away, becoming battle tested musicians and earning their metal stripes. But it was the release of the pummeling, balls deep, metal masterpiece New American Gospel in 2000, that made a them their name in the metal world. It’s a non-stop ride of pure metal genius. If the song ‘Black Label‘ doesn’t make you want to commit some (eventually regrettable) act of violence, then I’m pretty sure you’ve never actually listened to it.
As good as Gospel was, it was really Â 2003’s As The Palaces Burn that put Lamb of God on the fast track to metal stardom. Whereas Gospel was a straight forward, unrelenting metal hurricane, As The Palaces Burn showed growth in songwriting, execution and keen restraint. The band’s signature bone-crunching riffs were now tempered with well placed slower, groove heavy guitar work. This allowed for greater song depth with more verse friendly sections, increased vocal options and storytelling through lyrics. These new musical attributes allowed Lamb of God to grow into American metal powerhouses, and international stars. With 2004’s Ashes of The Wake propelling the band into the spotlight as part of the American metal revival, all they needed now was the last push to move into metal immortality.
That push was 2006’s release of Sacrament. With the demise of Texas Metal Gods Pantera in 2003, the American Heavy Metal Crown was up for grabs for the first time in almost 15 years. As Pantera died its long, sad death, many fought to be next in line. But it was Lamb of God that cemented itself as the new kings of the American Metal Scene with the release of Sacrament. The band’s popularity exploded with the release of the single ‘Redneck‘. With it, the band had their first ‘hit’, and garnered mainstream appeal.
They have released 2 more albums since , Wrath in 2009 and Resolution in 2012. Wrath saw the band continue its evolution while Resolution sounds, sadly, like songs that were not good enough to make it on Wrath. That may sound harsh, and maybe it is, but it doesn’t actually mean the album is bad. It’s not. But also isn’t great. For the first time, it sounds like Lamb of God failed to progress, to evolve, to achieve more. But, I’ll save my final judgment on the album until after I’ve heard it live.
In Flames, formed back in 1990, continues its dominance of the metal world with its 10th studio albumÂ Sounds of a Playground Fading. Along with bandsÂ Dark Tranquility andÂ At The Gates(aÂ completelyÂ underrated and spectacular band!), In Flames pioneered their own metal subgenre -Â melodic death metal. Since that time, some 20+ years ago, their sound has undergone a long and steady evolution. Gone are the harmonized guitar melodies, death metal growls and astrology-based lyrics. They are replaced with cleaner vocals, more straightforward guitar, synthesizer, and lyrics based on personal struggle and introspection. (To read my review of their last show in Seattle, go here.)
HELLYEAH, formed in 2006, is a heavy metal ‘supergroup’, consisting of Mudvayne lead vocalist Chad GrayÂ and guitarist Gregg Tribbett, Nothingface guitarist Tom Maxwell, Damageplan bassist Bob Zilla, and former Pantera and DamageplanÂ drummer Vinnie Paul. I think Paul does a fabulous job of explaining the group in this quote.
â€œOn our first two records, we were a new band. We really wanted to branch out and expand and experiment with all different styles. We all come from traditional metal bands and backgrounds, so it was a great breath of fresh air to play in a band that was rock â€˜n\’ roll, blues and Southern rock. We got that out of our system and got really focused on going back to our metal roots. It\’s heavy, focused, groove-oriented and I\’m excited about it.â€
Formed in 2000 in Reading, Berkshire, Sylosis is part prog (progressive), Â part thrash, part doom, and part death metal. What does it all boil down to for this plucky band of Brits? From what I’ve heard so far, an absolutely kick ass band! It’s like they’ve taken all the best parts of the metal world and metal genres and fused them together into something new. Something, quite possibly, great. Only time (and this show) will tell.
It about now I say, “This is a show not to be missed.” To be fair, I mean it every time I say it. There have been a lot of good metal shows in Seattle this year (feel free to browse through my reviews) but this one might just be great. It’s also one hell of a way to send 2012 packing! Get your ticketsÂ here, and I’ll see you at the show!